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Best Sri Lankan Ribbon Cake-Hilton Style

You can also order this cake now click here

Ribbon cake is a very Sri Lankan cake which is basically a vanilla cake with different layers of colours. This is a cake that is used by many Sri Lankan households to celebrate special occasions in life. I am doing a small twist to this recipe because with this addition your ribbon cake will go to the next level. Read more to find out how.

Ribboncake Youtube

Now I grew up eating cake from Hilton Colombo, not to sound too fancy, but that was the truth because my dad used to be the executive chef at Hilton Colombo from the time I was small, so obviously, the only cake I have eaten and remember was from Hilton hotel. They created this cake which was very special. I don’t know the name of it but we describe it as the Ribbon cake with brownie in the middle.

Those who know me from small days, know this use to be the cake I take for any school functions and birthday celebration treats. so I am well known for this cake. this used to be called the Rachi cake at some point and there was a time in life where my friends used to go to Hilton and order the cake as the Rachi cake hahahhaha, mind you the staff at Hilton Colombo was so confused as to what rachi cake was 🙂

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Alright, so what is so special about this cake? it is basically a vanilla cake with a gooey brownie, now I cannot begin to describe how good the combination of ribbon cake with brownie and marzipan taste like, it is absolutely delicious. I am not sure who invented this cake at Hilton, but it’s just the best cake of all times.

I make this cake quite often in Melbourne and everyone, just keep asking for the recipe, truth be told, this cake used to be one of my secret recipes but now I am ready to share it with you all. so please do me a favour, if you make this cake, leave a comment below, as it will really bring me joy to see people recreating this cake that was my childhood favourite and one of my biggest secret recipes.

How to decorate the ribbon cake.

I have a step by step video showing how the cake needs to be decorated, I usually add a marzipan sheet on the top, which makes it even better. But for this recipe, I have just used a vanilla butter icing and sandwiched the three layers and decorated it on the top.

Ribbon cake icing

Normal vanilla buttercream is used for this recipe, you can also use colouring to colour the icing. if you wish to have ribbon cake with no icing, then you can just omit the icing, which basically makes it a coloured butter cake.

Best occasions to make a ribbon cake

So this cake is very rich because there is an additional layer of a rich chocolate brownie, this is best to do for a special occasion or birthday party when you like to show off your baking skills and look like a MasterChef in front of your guests. But if you are anything like me, then make it for your afternoon tea snack 🙂

Why food voyageur’s ribbon cake is special?

Alright, guys, I am going to trademark this cake as the food voyageur ribbon cake because you can find millions of recipes for ribbon cake on the internet but you will definitely not find this recipe anywhere else. now I have not just taken the same recipe as Hilton’s cake, I have replicated it to make it extra special. obviously I have to give credit for Hilton Colombo for the inspiration.

How to get the butter to room temperature?

Now, most of the people fail to make this recipe perfect, as the butter plays a huge role. The butter needs to be room temperature. don’t ever microwave it to soften it, as this will make the cake oily. The best is to Cut the butter into small cubes and keep it at room temperature until its soft. But if you are in a country where it is cold and its winter then there is spreadable butter and I use that, I don’t keep it at room temperature, I use it straight from the fridge because it’s already softened.
You can also mix it in a stand or handheld mixer for 2 mins to get it to soften.

Usually, the ribbon cake can be swirled together to look like a marble cake or it can be layered with different colours on top of each other, that’s what I have done in this recipe. usually, the most popular colour for ribbon cake is Pink and green, sometimes yellow.

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You can also check my other butter cake recipe.

If you enjoy my Ribbon cake recipe please share it with your Facebook friends and leave a comment.

Watch my step by step ribbon cake video

Step by step ribbon cake recipe

Ribboncake Youtube

Best Sri Lankan Ribbon Cake – Hilton Style

Ribbon cake sandwiched with brownie
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Servings: 16 Pieces


  • Oven
  • Cake mixer


  • 250 g Butter Soften, Unsalted
  • 250 g Sugar White
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla essence
  • 1 drop Almond essence
  • 225 g All-purpose flour
  • 3 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/4 cup Milk Fresh, full-cream
  • 1 tbsp Oil Canola, Vegetable


  • Preheat oven to 175C. line two 19 x 19 cm square pan with baking paper. If you are doing only the ribbon cake and not the whole cake with brownie, then use one pan to bake the cake.
  • In a cake mixer (stand or hand held mixer)Place the soften butter and sugar in the mixing bowl and mix well on high speed until creamy
  • Add vanilla, almond essence, oil and mix well
  • Add in the eggs one by one until fully incorporated
  • Reduce the speed and fold in the sifted flour and baking powder
  • Finally, add milk and mix until fully incorporated
  • Divide the batter into two equal parts, add a dollop of pink colouring to one part and green colouring to the other part and mix well separately
  • Add in both batters to the prepared lined trays and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes
  • Take it out of the cake pans and let it cool on a wire rack, while it is hot, you can simply peel off the top brown layer of the cake ( note you can also carve it with a knife, but it easily peels off) The brown layer will be different from oven to oven, if there is no brown layer then leave the cake as it is.


  • Click here to get my Brownie recipe
  • Click here to get my Vanilla buttercream recipe
  • Place one colour of the cake on the bottom, apply vanilla buttercream on top, then place the brownie, apply buttercream, then place the 2nd colour cake on top of the brownie and decorate the top with buttercream (See video for instructions)
  • Trim the edges, if you wish to decorate it more, then use the leftover buttercream to pipe as required for decoration.


Did you make this recipe?

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57 thoughts on “Best Sri Lankan Ribbon Cake-Hilton Style”

  1. Really happy to tried out this recipe, really loved it . One of the most amazing ribbon cake ever. And lot of thanks for sharing.

  2. Will definitely try this recipe specially with the brownie layer in the centre the cake looks so delicious thanks for sharing

  3. How do you arrange both colours in one tray for the ribbon cake.
    Do you have to swirl the colours or pour one on top of the other

    1. User Avatar

      Hi, The cake becomes soft and moist due to the butter, so make sure the butter is softened when adding. the batter doesn’t have to be beaten for long. the butter and sugar need to be creamy before adding any of the wet ingredients. I have listed all tips and tricks on how to get a soft and moist cake on my article. Hope this helps 🙂

  4. Finally, found time to make your ribbon cake. Why didn’t I try it sooner. It came out so well. Followed the recipe to the T. Going to be my go to ribbon cake now on. I didn’t do the brownie layer. Yet it was a pretty big piece of cake. Super moist and great flavor. Thank you for sharing your most treasured recipes.

  5. 5 stars
    Finally, I found the time to make this devine cake. It was a absolutely moist, tender, buttery cake. Going to be my go to ribbon cake. I didn’t do the brownie layer, yet it was quite a big slice of cake. Thank you for sharing your treasured recipes . 💕

  6. 5 stars
    Hi Rachi, thank you so much for sharing a great recipe. Also I love the way you introduce professional cooking techniques to home cooks and also Sharing great tips to amateur cooks like me. I just waned to ask you that when I click on the butter choice on your recipes it takes me to the undalter western star cultured butter. Is that the butter you use?. If it is the butter can I use that in the cake and in your butter cream recipes?.


    1. User Avatar

      Hi Naveka,
      Thank you for your kind words, it is always a pleasure to share my tips and tricks.
      I was trying to check where have I linked the western star cultured butter in my ribbon cake recipe and couldn’t find it. I use western star unsalted butter but not the cultured butter as that is what I use for croissants. I may have accidentally linked the cultured butter. I do use the western star unsalted butter and you can use it in the cake and buttercream recipe. But when it is winter here, because its hard to get the butter into room temperature here in Melbourne, I use spreadable butter. Coles have a spreadable butter that is home brand and that is quite good as well.

      hope this helps 🙂

  7. Jackie Pathirana

    5 stars
    Made your cake today for my daughter’s birthday, including the brownie layer and it was great. Thank you so much for sharing it.

  8. Narmeen Mohamed Ilyas

    This cake I have never eaten before. But its so yummy. I am definitely making and eating again. Thank you so much for the recipe.

    1. User Avatar

      You can use any oil as long as it’s not olive oil or coconut oil, as they are very strong. Usually with non stick pans cakes come out very easily, but i like to take extra precaution

  9. Hey looks too good
    Can’t wait to try it
    Wanted to know that is it ok if I cover it with fondant icing

  10. 5 stars
    My all-time Sri Lankan ribbon cake now. I’m a cottage baker now and people love this and ordering it always… I use for decorated cakes as well. Thanks a lot.

  11. User Avatar

    Hello there, can I know why the flour qty is 25g lesser than other ingredients as opposed to sugar and butter

    1. User Avatar

      This is the recipe I have grown up with, I have always made it this way, and it works for me and others. I don’t think adding 25g more will make or break the recipe, but I haven’t tried it that way. But you can definitely add it in if you feel.

    1. User Avatar

      It’s better to use unsalted butter, especially for the icing, All-purpose flour is better. Cake flour has more gluten which is good to make cakes very moist, but since this will be a very moist cake, I am worried cake flour will make it too moist and will not hold up. Hope this helps

  12. Hi Rachi
    Thanks for the recipe and hope to try it. However, just clarifying, you had mentioned cake flour has more gluten, actually, it is the other way around. Cake flour has less gluten. Please, correct me if I am wrong.
    Thank you

    1. User Avatar

      Hi Ayoma, Thank you. I fail to locate where I have mentioned anywhere on this recipe that cake flour has more gluten. If I have, that’s is a typo error, as it has less gluten formed. Less protein = less gluten formed = Softer cakes. That’s the basic science in baking. Hope this clarifies your question?

  13. Hi Rachi
    I’m struggling seems like I’m the only one bit getting the consistency right
    I baked the cake in one tray , after recommended 25 mins I found that middle is still not cooked . Any reason why ?
    I followed the recipe to the letter

    1. User Avatar

      Hi Shravithri,
      It is clear that the cake is not cooked because it is cooked in ONE tray. I have mentioned in my recipe to use TWO trays. The more height you give to a cake the more time it will take to cook the cake. Hope this helps.

  14. 5 stars
    Hi Rachi,
    My husband misses home and was dying to eat Ribbon cake. And google brought me to your page, it was fate indeed. I made the cake and not even half a day passed and the cake vanished.
    It was a super easy recipe to follow. The cake was soft and buttery. It just took us back in time.
    Sending you much love from Germany xoxoxo Vielen Dank ❤️

  15. Hi Rachi
    If I were to use this recipe to make a marble cake and baked the whole cake in one tray, how much time would it require? Also how do I get that marble effect? Thank you!

    1. User Avatar

      Hi, I would really recommend making the specified quantity in 2 trays, as the softness and texture will be affected when done in one tray. But yes definitely marbling the cake is possible.

  16. 5 stars
    I’m so glad I found this! Growing up in Colombo my family and I’d get one of these from Hilton every time someone’s birthday rolled around! They used to spray designs on the marzipan too. My mum worked there for a while as well. Thanks so much for sharing. Can’t wait to try it. I have so many great memories connected to this cake 🙂

  17. Hi, can I know the kg of the cake? And if I’m to cut about 20 pieces how should the quantity of the recipe work, try size too I do not have 2 try sizes of the same. Here in SL it’s hard to get APF can I use cake flour any tips if using so
    Can the brownie layer and cake made in advance and kept if so how many days prior can it be done and how should I store it ( because of the prevailing power cut issues in SL)
    Thank you.

    1. User Avatar

      hey, it will be approximately 2kg. this cake will be cut into approximately 16 pieces. using the same tray is crucial as it will affect the cooking time. I haven’t made it with cake flour, but in theory, it should work fine. Brownie dries out very quickly. I usually make the cake around 3 days in advance. It can be stored outside the fridge for up to 3 days. it’s the icing that will cause issues as it will melt to the heat very quickly.

      You can adjust the quantity on the quantity tab, it will automatically convert into the grammage required.

      Hope this helps

  18. 5 stars
    Rachi this is another incredible recipe from you – thank you so much. This is by far the best ribbon cake recipe I have found, and you give such clear instructions. I made this a few months ago and it tasted amazing. My aunt worked at Hilton Colombo in the 1980s and, like you, I remember many visits to their restaurants – and this recipe brings back those lovely memories.

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